Many women undergoing gynecologic surgery experience too much pain following hospital discharge, suggests a new study in Obstetrics & Gynecology. The findings are particularly important because today's shorter hospital stays leave much of patients' acute recovery to occur at home. The study researchers followed 127 women who underwent nonlaparoscopic abdominal or vaginal gynecologic surgery, using surveys to gauge pain levels and use of pain medication. Approximately 1 in 5 vaginal surgery patients experienced inadequate pain control -- defined as a score of 4 or more on the standard Surgical Pain Scale -- three to seven days following hospital discharge. Results for patients with abdominal surgery were more worrisome, with approximately 1 in 2 women reporting inadequate pain control at three days, 1 in 3 at seven days, and 1 in 4 at two weeks following discharge, despite the fact that a third used narcotic pain medications two weeks after discharge. Read the abstract.
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